Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Being Too God centered: are you sitting comfortably?

This a thought provoked by another blogger imonk on the subject of being too God centered.

Sometimes it seems we are like children trying to get the Fathers attention with our religious antics, or chasing 'heavenly butterflies' rather than sitting with Jesus in heavenly places looking with "compassion on all He has made".

The question I ask, what are the Religious antics in my life? Maybe the answer is not to ask the question and get side tracked but rather love Him with all our heart soul mind and strength. After all our positing this is what really counts. The depth of our love for God will be reflected in how we do the second part of the great commandment, "and love your neighbour as yourself".

Here is an old Testament discipleship style..
1 Chronicles 28:8-10 "So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work."

Unfortunately the wisest man on earth got somewhat distracted and summed up life as Everything Is Meaningless. But having said that, there is a redemptive insight to his wanderings in Ecc 2:24-26 "A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God".

So what do we say to being too God-centered? It's how we define what is being God-centered. What was God's centered approach toward us ie the world? Wasn't it to "dwell among us" by sending Jesus. Shouldn't we do likewise and dwell among people like us who don't know their way to the Father and show them the treasure of forgiveness and share the "ministry of reconciliation" we have found?

The Father's focus was on a fallen world and we bring glory to him by administering his grace however we may, by music, art, culture or simple conversation.

Now to do some holy housework!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gideon & Weapons of Warfare

1. Worship See Gideon judges 6&7 He encountered the "Lord of Peace" and made an acceptable sacrifice to him. That was his inspiration for the battle ahead.

2. Know your enemy. Judges 7&8 Listen to battle intelligence. Be what the enemy fears....
faith that has knelt at the altar of sacrifice can stand firm against the wiles of the devil.
"Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good" Romans 12:21

3. Strategies that surprise are more effective than a show of power or physical strength. Gideon used light and broken vessels! (torches and pieces of pottery)

4. Deals with the side battles within the camp, the "sour grapes" of others not invited to the
fight, and combats the "strongholds" of conceit and provoking to envy.

5. Have a healthy disregard for popularity and the opinion of the crowd. "Don't believe what you hear, and half of what you see" as Frodo from Lord of the Rings would say. Consider this.... Gideon's oldest son was afraid to kill the captured enemy because he was so young, yet the people wanted Gideon's family this young son and his son - not yet born, to rule over them! It seems absurd, but there again, when we look at the treatment of Jesus, the crowd
calls for a crown for Jesus one minute but by the end of the week crying for his cruxification.

6. Imitate the hallmark of Christ. His Humility. We see the end result of conceit at the end of the Story of Gideon. Conceit is an interesting word meaning in this context exaggerated sense of self-importance. While Gideon refused to rule over the Isrealites, he did nevertheless, want to make a lasting name for himself. Isn't it interesting that Gideon's ephod became a snare for his family?
Philippians 2:2-4 :2-4 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Gal 5: 26
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

1 Timothy 3:5-7 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert,
or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
2 Tim2:25-26Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Worship begins our warfare, humility in battle wins the war.